The tourism industry is poised to become a major player in our future economy. People from various parts of the country and the world continue to visit Kashmir’s tourism destinations, even during the winter season. The government of India has recently added several border areas like Keran, Machil, Tangdhar, Gurez, Bangus Valley, and others to the tourism map. While this expands opportunities for livelihoods, it is crucial to make these destinations feasible for winter tourism and tap into their potential for winter sports.
Bangus Valley’s Potential for Year-round Opportunities
Bangus Valley in North Kashmir’s Kupwara district holds enormous potential to provide diverse opportunities for the youth during both winters and summers. It’s essential to ensure that tourism and sports activities continue throughout the winter in Kashmir. Similarly, Gurez Valley can become a hub for such activities, absorbing the local population in various tourism pursuits, provided the government develops suitable infrastructure.
Kashmir’s natural beauty, with its mountains, pristine lakes, rivers, and forests, attracts tourists throughout the year. Every part of the Kashmir Valley offers opportunities and employment prospects, but sustained government support is required to ensure tourism activities don’t cease during the winter period.
According to the Economic Survey 2019-20, the service sector, particularly tourism, significantly contributes to the State Gross Development Product (SGDP). With the service sector’s contribution exceeding 58%, primarily due to tourism, investing in this sector can be highly profitable.
Supporting Tourism Investment and Development
People can invest in building hotels, restaurants, and related infrastructure at newly introduced tourist places. To attract millions of tourists, the government should address accommodation issues and other requirements promptly. Support from the government, including encouraging multinational companies to invest in the tourism sector, is crucial at the initial stages of any tourism business.
Kashmir’s renowned hospitality and unique cuisine, including Wazwan and other Kashmiri dishes, make the region stand out. The food industry can be a significant aspect of tourism sector investment, providing job opportunities for the youth.
To promote tourism in border areas, the government should organize adventure sports activities in both summer and winter. Similar to the Indian Army’s initiative on the Indo-China border, adventure games like cycling, trekking, and rafting can be conducted on a massive scale in Kashmir’s border areas.
Preparing for Winter Olympics in Kashmir
Kashmir has the potential to host Winter Sports Olympics, showcasing sports like Bobsleigh, Curling, Ice Hockey, Skiing, etc. Creating the necessary infrastructure for these sports is essential to prepare for future Winter Olympics. With 69% of Jammu and Kashmir’s population comprising youth, it is crucial to reach out to them and address their legitimate demands related to job opportunities.
The government can guide and assist the youth in investing in the tourism sector, absorbing thousands of unemployed young individuals. Adventure sports tourism has vast potential, and the government should introduce adventure activities in all newly developed tourist destinations.
Kashmir’s tourist places are suitable for various adventure sports activities, including White Water Rafting, Parasailing, Mountaineering, Skiing, Snowboarding, Trekking, and more. By prioritizing the tourism sector and encouraging people to invest in it, Kashmir can not only preserve its natural beauty but also emerge as the best adventure sports destination, transforming the lives of its young population.
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